Slovenian Transmission System Operator ELES and Smart Wires to collaborate on technology synergies

Slovenian Transmission System Operator ELES and Smart Wires to collaborate on technology synergies

March 2, 2021

In a world-first, Slovenia’s Transmission System Operator, ELES, and power technology company, Smart Wires have announced a joint agreement which will see ELES’ dynamic line rating (DLR) technology combine with Smart Wires’ power flow control solution.

The two technologies offer compelling synergies. DLR can identify which lines have available capacity and power flow controllers can then intelligently route power to those lines.

Transmission system operators anticipate several operational constraints as they aim to deliver their long-term capital works. This collaboration will provide a technology that allows the transmission system operators to actively optimise network power flows and resolve these constraints. This will mean saving customers millions of euros and ensuring the delivery of major projects.

The companies anticipate a series of collaborative ventures on different sites. ELES’ part of the collaboration will be managed by its recently-launched member company Operato, focused solely on the implementation of SUMO DTR (dynamic thermal rating) technology. 

SUMO DTR technology cost efficiently monitors and predicts weather conditions along the whole line to calculate a transmission line’s real-time rating. By using SUMO DTR’s real-time ratings, transmission operators can use higher line ratings without endangering safety or reliability.

Since some circuits reach their maximum rating while others are well below their limits, balancing power flows can eliminate constraints and improve network transfers. Smart Wires’ SmartValveTM technology can push power off lines that are overloaded or pull power onto lines with spare capacity.

Unique from legacy forms of power flow control, SmartValve is a modular solution which means it is quick and flexible to install and easy to scale or relocate. SUMO is an advanced DTR system that requires no physical installation of sensors on the conductors.

According to ELES’ Director of Strategic Innovation, Uros Salobir: “combining these rapidly-installed and low environmental impact technologies is the next logical step in grid innovation as our industry solves problems that facilitate the energy transition.”

“ELES is proud to join forces with Smart Wires. Both companies have seen the strength in each other’s capabilities and have similar outlooks in terms of our commitment to innovation,” said ELES’ CEO, Aleksander Mervar.

Smart Wires’ Vice President, European Business Development, Mark Norton responded: “Smart Wires has followed ELES’ journey with great interest over the last few years.”

“ELES is proud to join forces with Smart Wires. Both companies have seen the strength in each other’s capabilities and have similar outlooks in terms of our commitment to innovation”

Aleksander Mervar

ELES’ CEO

“We recognized the extremely complimentary nature of DLR with our technology, and saw ELES’ unique strength, being both a transmission system operator and a developer of grid technology.

“Innovation is such a core tenet of both companies and we are thrilled to collaborate on these   pioneering projects,” Mr Norton said.

The projects are expected to commence in early 2021.

About ELES

ELES has the exclusive right to pursue a transmission system operator’s activity on the territory of the Republic of Slovenia. Using a professional approach, knowledge, and advanced technology for over 90 years, the Company provides the safe, secure, and uninterrupted transmission of electricity throughout Slovenia and beyond its borders. ELES has become the first regulated energy company in Slovenia, which has placed its innovations activity at the forefront of its operations. With successful projects, organisation, and human resources, it allowed the highest possible level of further development in this area.

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Smart Wires Appoints New CEO

Smart Wires Appoints New CEO

Peter Wells Joins Smart Wires as Chief Executive Officer

Jan 25, 2021

Smart Wires announced today that the Board of Directors has appointed renewable energy and power industry veteran Peter Wells as Chief Executive Officer of Smart Wires, effective today. Wells is also joining the Board of Directors of Smart Wires. 

Wells is an accomplished power industry executive, bringing more than three decades of global leadership experience in energy and renewable energy, spanning projects, products and services, and manufacturing. Wells joins Smart Wires from GE Renewable Energy, where he served as Chief Executive Officer, Onshore Wind for Europe and Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) Region. During his tenure, GE went from sixth to third in the market, doubling its volume and market reach.

Prior to leading GE’s European onshore wind business, Wells was Senior Vice President and COO for Services and Projects for Vestas Americas. Wells joined Vestas in 2015 when Vestas acquired UpWind Solutions, which was the leading independent wind services business at the time. During his tenure as CEO of UpWind Solutions, Wells grew the business ten-fold to more than 3.5 GW of generating capacity under a long-term contract.

Tom Voss, Chairman of Smart Wires, said, “We are thrilled to have Peter Wells joining Smart Wires at this important time for the company. Smart Wires has built significant global momentum and is well positioned for continued growth with its SmartValve product line. Peter’s deep experience and relationships in the power industry, understanding of renewable energy drivers, customer needs, broad experience, and results make Peter the ideal leader for Smart Wires. In short, Peter is an incredibly skilled executive whose global power industry experience positions him well to lead Smart Wires through our next phase of growth.”

“Smart Wires has a compelling product, and clear strategy within a rapidly growing market and a phenomenal team focused on serving our customers to enable them to create the highly efficient grids the world needs. I am personally and professionally committed to this vision and look forward to working with our customers and the entire team to help facilitate the global energy transition.”

Peter Wells

Chief Executive Officer

Wells said, “I am excited to be joining Smart Wires at this important juncture in the company’s growth, and by the tremendous opportunity in front of the company. I have spent a large part of my career in renewable energy, and the transmission capacity constraints of our aging electric grids globally is a key bottleneck we must unlock to achieve rapid, widespread decarbonization. The potential for impact is larger here than anywhere else in the electric sector.”

Wells continued, “Smart Wires has a compelling product, and clear strategy within a rapidly growing market and a phenomenal team focused on serving our customers to enable them to create the highly efficient grids the world needs. I am personally and professionally committed to this vision and look forward to working with our customers and the entire team to help facilitate the global energy transition.”

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Smart Wires Named Among Top 100 Global Companies Committed to Delivering a Clean Future

Smart Wires Named Among Top 100 Global Companies Committed to Delivering a Clean Future

December 15, 2020

Smart Wires has been named a 2021 Global Cleantech 100 Company. This recognizes Smart Wires as one of the top companies – among thousands of innovators from across the globe – best positioned to lead the way to a decarbonized, digitized and resource-efficient future.

Smart Wires develops and implements digital technologies that advance the delivery of affordable, clean electricity on grids around the world. Smart Wires’ technology quickly unlocks gigawatts of new capacity on the existing power grid by intelligently routing power to travel across underutilized power lines.

“Leading utilities across Europe, Australia and the Americas have already begun to change the way they think about future investments in critical infrastructure. With our hardware and software, electric utilities can greatly increase the capacity on their grids. This means rapid integration of renewables, at a lower cost and with less disruption to communities and the environment,” reflected Michael Walsh, Smart Wires’ Chief Commercial Officer.

“In the next decade, we expect to see all major power grids adopt modern power flow technology. In order to quickly and cost-effectively facilitate the energy transition, the electric grid will transform from a system of “steel and copper” to one dependent on “silicon and software”. Smart Wires is committed to partnering with utilities to achieve this transition,” he added.

“We are delighted to welcome 50 companies for their first time on this year’s new Global Cleantech 100. This replacement rate speaks to the healthy maturing of this innovation ecosystem and to some specific impacts of Covid-19,” said Richard Youngman, CEO, Cleantech Group.

“On the one hand, the 2021 list reflects the long-running mega-trends like decarbonization, digitization, electrification, and the ever-increasing volumes of deployed renewable energy. On the other, Covid-19’s impact is evident – for example, in the uptick in automation and robotics-enabled solutions, in logistics and supply chain solutions, and solutions in the food chain to prevent, reduce and repurpose food waste. Resilience is a new critical factor at play,” he said.

In addition to being acknowledged by Global Cleantech, this year the World Economic Forum recognized Smart Wires as a 2020 Technology Pioneer and Inc. 5000 ranked Smart Wires number 614 on the annual list of America’s fastest-growing private companies.

Cleantech Group provides research, consulting and events to catalyze opportunities for sustainable growth powered by innovation. We bring clients access to the trends, companies and people shaping the future and the customized advice and support businesses need to engage external innovation.

Industries are undergoing definitive transitions toward a more digitized, de-carbonized and resource-efficient industrial future. At every stage from initial strategy to final deals, our services bring corporate change makers, investors, governments and stakeholders from across the ecosystem, the support they need to thrive in this fast-arriving and uncertain future.

The company was established in 2002 and is headquartered in San Francisco with people based in London, Paris and Boston.

World Economic Forum Selects Smart Wires as a Technology Pioneer

Smart Wires named to Inc. 5000 List of Fastest-Growing Companies

Distinguished European Grid Expert to Lead Smart Wires Europe

Distinguished European Grid Expert to Lead Smart Wires Europe

Marie Hayden appointed as General Manager, Europe, further cementing Smart Wires’ expansion in the region

December 10, 2020

Global power technology company, Smart Wires, announced that leading European electricity grid expert, Marie Hayden, has been appointed General Manager, Europe. Ms. Hayden is based in Dublin, Ireland, and will assume responsibility for the company’s European operations.

According to Smart Wires’ Chief Commercial Officer, Michael Walsh, Ms. Hayden is uniquely qualified for the role, as the company seeks to strengthen its position in the European market.

“As leader in the European energy industry, Marie not only has an incredible wealth of experience, but also a genuine passion and insatiable interest in the global electricity landscape,” he said.

“Her business development success in Europe and Australia is a testament to her dedication to find solutions that drive strategic value for our customers as they pursue the energy transition.”

“We are seeing fantastic momentum in Europe, engaging on critical projects and PCIs, and also helping drive policy with the innovative grid technology industry association, currENT Europe,” he said.

“Europe is a key market for Smart Wires, and we are cementing our presence with a top-notch team that is led by Marie and contains some of Europe’s most respected industry figures.”

Ms. Hayden’s vision for this role is to work collaboratively with European utilities, optimizing their existing networks to facilitate a fast and cost-effective transition to a more renewable power system and a highly efficient internal energy market.

Ms. Hayden has worked with Smart Wires for three years as Vice President of Business Development, Europe and Australia. Prior to this she spent 25 years with EirGrid, Ireland’s Transmission System Operator, in senior management positions including Manager of the Scenario Planning, Connection Policy and Operational Planning teams.

“Electricity grids play a pivotal role in achieving the 2030 and 2050 climate action goals for Europe. We need to build flexibility into our existing and new infrastructure to cater for the uncertainty that is inherent when predicting how society will use our grids in the future,”

Marie Hayden

General Manager - Europe

“Electricity grids play a pivotal role in achieving the 2030 and 2050 climate action goals for Europe. We need to build flexibility into our existing and new infrastructure to cater for the uncertainty that is inherent when predicting how society will use our grids in the future,” she said.

“After almost 30 years in this industry I remain both excited and impressed by the changes being implemented across the globe to make power systems sustainable and to facilitate a carbon neutral society. I am looking forward to continuing to be part of that transition as General Manager for Smart Wires in Europe,” Ms. Hayden said.

Ms. Hayden holds a Bachelor of Engineering and a Masters of Engineering from University College Dublin; and has held many major positions within the industry including Chair of the Irish National Committee of CIGRE, Organizing Committee Chair of the 2017 CIGRE Symposium in Ireland, Deputy Member of ENTSO-E’s System Operations Committee, and Member of the implementation projects associated with the European Network Codes.

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Smart Wires named to Inc. 5000 List of Fastest-Growing Companies

Inc. Magazine Names Smart Wires to Annual List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies – the Inc. 5000

August 12, 2020

Inc. magazine revealed that Smart Wires is number 614 on its annual Inc. 5000 list. Smart Wires earned this ranking with a three-year revenue growth rate of 762 percent. This list of America’s most successful private companies first debuted in 1982 and has since become a symbol of entrepreneurial success. 

Microsoft, Dell, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow, Patagonia and many other well-known names gained early exposure as honorees on the Inc. 5000.

“We are honored to be included on the Inc. 5000 List,” said Gregg Rotenberg, Smart Wires CEO. “Our rapid growth is attributed to global leaders in the electric sector embracing our technology to quickly unlock gigawatts of new capacity on their existing grids, by intelligently routing power to travel across underutilized transmission lines.”

“We are proud to partner with electric utilities to accelerate a low-cost path to global decarbonization by dramatically increasing the delivery of electricity through today’s existing power grids.”

“We have lined up over a billion dollars of project opportunities over the next several years where our technology will enable many gigawatts of new renewable energy projects to reach the grid.”

Smart Wires develops and implements innovative technologies that advance the delivery of electricity. With these solutions, electric utilities can maximize transfer capacity on their grids. This is necessary for rapid decarbonization at the lowest cost with the least disruption to communities and the environment.

In addition to being acknowledged by Inc. 5000, the World Economic Forum recognized Smart Wires as a 2020 Technology Pioneer and SmartValve™ technology as one of the energy sector’s most influential innovations of the last decade.

Further Information

The companies on the 2020 Inc. 5000 have been very competitive within their markets, and the list as a whole shows staggering growth compared with prior lists. The 2020 Inc. 5000 achieved an incredible three-year average growth of over 500 percent, and a median rate of 165 percent. The Inc. 5000’s aggregate revenue was $209 billion in 2019, accounting for over 1 million jobs over the past three years. 

Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000.

“We are proud to partner with electric utilities to accelerate a low-cost path to global decarbonization by dramatically increasing the delivery of electricity through today’s existing power grids.”

Gregg Rotenberg

Chief Executive Officer

About Inc. Media

The world’s most trusted business-media brand, Inc. offers entrepreneurs the knowledge, tools, connections, and community to build great companies. Its award-winning multiplatform content reaches more than 50 million people each month across a variety of channels including websites, newsletters, social media, podcasts, and print. Its prestigious Inc. 5000 list, produced every year since 1982, analyzes company data to recognize the fastest-growing privately held businesses in the United States. The global recognition that comes with inclusion in the 5000 gives the founders of the best businesses an opportunity to engage with an exclusive community of their peers, and the credibility that helps them drive sales and recruit talent. The associated Inc. 5000 Conference is part of a highly acclaimed portfolio of bespoke events produced by Inc. For more information, visit www.inc.com.

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Amprion and Smart Wires are testing more flexible power flow control on the power grid

Amprion and Smart Wires are testing more flexible power flow control on the power grid

August 05, 2020

The Dortmund-based transmission system operator (TSO) Amprion has signed a cooperation agreement with the US Silicon Valley company, Smart Wires, for a pilot project. The aim is to increase the transmission capacity of the power grid while maintaining the high level of system stability.

The partners are starting the project, which consists of three phases, with the goal of using a mobile modular static-synchronous series compensator (mSSSC) from Smart Wires in the Amprion grid. The “SmartValve” is designed to ensure power lines are more fully utilized.

“We see this innovative technology as having the potential to allow us to use the network more efficiently and reduce the need for redispatch,” says Dr. Klaus Kleinekorte, CTO at Amprion. The cost of redispatch in Germany has risen to over a billion euros in recent years and is burdening electricity customers.  

The SmartValve can relieve constrained lines by actively changing the power flows. This allows the transmission network to be better controlled and to minimize redispatch of generation arising from network bottlenecks. The device has a modular structure allowing it to be easily transported and flexibly used at different locations. The new technology thus complements conventional phase shifter transformers (PST), and can also support the system from a stability perspective. 

In order to continue to guarantee the stability of the power grid as the energy transition proceeds, Amprion is already using various innovative technologies such as the PST or reactive power compensation systems such as STATCOM.

“We are thrilled to work with Amprion as one of the world’s most respected TSOs. It is very exciting to see our technology adopted in the country that has shown so much leadership in the energy transition”, said Gregg Rotenberg, CEO of Smart Wires.

“Our commitment to this partnership is reflected in the amazing team we have built in Europe and Germany in particular.”

Amprion and Smart Wires expect the project to run for two to three years to demonstrate the value of the new technology on the grid.

“We see this innovative technology as having the potential to allow us to use the network more efficiently and reduce the need for redispatch”

Dr. Klaus Kleinekorte

CTO at Amprion

Amprion

Amprion GmbH is a leading transmission system operator in Europe. Through our 11,000 kilometre extra-high voltage grid we transport electricity for more than 29 million people in an area stretching from the North Sea to the Alps. As an innovative service provider, Amprion offers industrial customers and grid partners maximum supply security. With our approximately 2,000 employees, we ensure that our grid, with voltage levels of 380,000 and 220,000 volts, is available to all players in the electricity market on a non-discriminatory basis and at market-driven and transparent conditions. In addition, Amprion is responsible for the coordination of interconnected operations in Germany and in the northern part of the European extra-high voltage grid.

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Accelerating the Energy Transition in Germany: Industry Leaders Discuss the Opportunities Offered by Innovation and Grid Optimization

Accelerating the Energy Transition in Germany:

Industry Leaders Discuss the Opportunities Offered by Innovation and Grid Optimization

July 15, 2020

Berlin, Germany – The German transmission grid needs to quickly and significantly increase its transfer capacity to successfully manage an increasing level of renewables and deliver on the Clean Energy package. German transmission system operators (TSOs) have ambitious network development plans to reduce congestion costs and facilitate the energy transition. 

German TSOs are seeking flexible and innovative solutions that can ‘buy time’ as many network expansion efforts are suffering delays due to community concerns and lengthy permitting.

To learn about the valuable time and flexibility offered by grid optimization technologies, hundreds of people joined a virtual colloquium hosted by the Research Group on Energy (FGE) at RWTH Aachen. The meeting launched a recent study completed by Professor Moser and his team and featured leaders from across the European energy industry.

“Optimization of the grid is a no-regrets option,” stated Giles Dickson, CEO of WindEurope in his speech at the event. “It is very important that we are having this discussion about grid optimization technologies, how to make the most out of today’s existing networks and try to minimize how much we may have to spend from now until 2050,” he continued.

This view was shared by Dr. Stefan Mischinger, Head of Power Networks at the German Energy Agency, DENA, “The National Development Plan’s NOVA principle says grid optimization before reinforcement or expansion. We need to reinforce this principle.”

Transmission owners National Grid Electricity Transmission (UK) and Amprion (Germany) discussed their approach to embracing innovation and investing in a flexible network.

This year, National Grid Electricity Transmission is proceeding with five installations of Smart Wires technology at three substations. “I met the CEO of Smart Wires in 2015 and saw a huge potential. We found a way to start innovating and sharing ideas,” reflected David Wright, Director of Electricity Transmission and Chief Electricity Engineer.

Bartosz Rusek, Amprion’s Manager of System Network Analysis, noted Amprion’s long history of embracing innovation, “we pioneered DC links for the grid, developed new innovative towers, and introduced partial cabling. I recognize the flexibility offered by solutions like Smart Wires and am open to collaborating to bring this next phase of innovation to the German grid.”

These leaders were reacting to study results presented by Dr. Annika Klettke, study lead at RWTH Aachen. Dr. Klettke described how the modular characteristics of Smart Wires’ SSSC (static synchronous series compensators) offers substantial value in reducing redispatch, lowering congestion costs and enabling more renewables to connect quickly.

The study explored the system impacts of replacing the ‘ad-hoc’ PSTs (phase shifting transformers) contained in the German Network Development Plan with modular SSSCs. The study found that modular SSSCs provide double the benefits of PSTs in terms of lowering system congestion and reducing renewable dispatch.

These benefits were possible because of the modularity and flexibility of the SSSCs. These characteristics allow TOs to install the solution quickly, scale the deployments, and relocate the devices as necessary. If other benefits like easier, faster delivery are considered the benefits would be even larger.

Reflecting on the conversation that unfolded, Gregg Rotenberg, Smart Wires CEO said, “These industry leaders understand the value that flexible investments offer – buying time by materially reducing congestion and carbon emissions while we wait for ‘big bets’ like HVDC come into service and ensuring these large investments are fully utilized. Germany is already considered a global leader in the energy transition, and by quickly adopting flexible solutions, they can show the world how earlier reductions in carbon can have an outsized impact on our ability to affordably mitigate climate change.”

Summary of Study

Germany has ambitions renewables and climate targets and plans major changes to its power system in the coming years. Today, the German grid is highly constrained – congestion cost consumers €1.2 billion in 2019. German transmission system operators (TSOs) have ambitious network development plans to reduce congestion costs and facilitate the energy transition.

Where long-term network expansion efforts are delayed, proven technology can optimize the network in the near term. The German Network Development Plan includes several PSTs (phase shifting transformers) in the next few years. Since many network expansion efforts face delays, these projects are designed to help TSOs ‘buy time’ and increase transfer capacity by maximizing the use of the existing grid.

The Institute of Power Systems and Power Economics (IAEW) at RWTH Aachen University conducted a study to analyze the advantages offered by modular power flow control in the form of m-SSSCs (modular static synchronous series compensators).

“Optimization of the grid is a no-regrets option.”

Giles Dickson

CEO, WindEurope

The study found that compared to PSTs with the same capacity, m-SSSCs could provide double the system benefit. These benefits were possible because of the modularity and flexibility of the m-SSSCs. These characteristics allow TSOs to install the solution quickly, scale the deployments, reduce substation space and relocate the devices as necessary.

The study, colloquium presentation and a recording of the webinar are all available here

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General Manager appointed to drive Smart Wires’ expansion in Australia and Asia Pacific region

General Manager appointed to drive expansion in Australia and Asia Pacific

July 13, 2020

Global power technology company, Smart Wires, today announced the appointment of a dedicated General Manager, APAC (Asia Pacific), signaling the company’s expansion in the region.

Aidan Lawlor will be based in Australia, and oversee the company’s business operations in Australia, Asia and Oceania.

“The energy industry in the Asia Pacific region, and in Australia in particular, is at a hugely exciting point in history,” said Smart Wires’ Vice President of Business Development, Europe and Australia, Marie Hayden.

“Within a few short years we have seen an incredible shift in this region around integrating more renewables,” she said.

“The commitment to change and innovation we are seeing from the Australian government, utilities and regulators is very encouraging. We have developed strong collaborative partnerships with these groups and see great potential for business growth, which is a win for Australian utilities and consumers alike.

“Smart Wires is passionate about facilitating the growth of renewable energy in Australia, and the next few months will see us making some major project announcements in this regard. This is the perfect time to grow our capability in Australia and we are delighted to add Aidan’s outstanding leadership and experience to our team here,” Ms. Hayden said.

Smart Wires develops and implements modular power flow control technology that enables electricity utilities to maximize transfer capacity on their existing networks. This means utilities can reduce constraints and increase the amount of renewables able to connect.

According to Mr. Lawlor, “Smart Wires’ reason for being is to develop technologies that deliver greater grid efficiencies and a greener planet, and that aligns strongly with my own personal values.”

“There is real potential for Australia to significantly increase its uptake of renewables, and play a major role in the global energy transition,” he said.

“Within a few short years we have seen an incredible shift in this region around integrating more renewables”

Marie Hayden

Vice President of Business Development, Europe and Australia

Mr. Lawlor has significant experience in the global energy industry, working in both Australia and Europe for more than 20 years. He is returning to Australia to take up the role of General Manager, APAC, after several years in Europe.

Prior to joining Smart Wires, Mr. Lawlor was Head of Customers and Stakeholders for Ireland’s national transmission system operator, EirGrid; and prior to that EirGrid’s Head of Program Delivery.

In Australia, he worked with Queensland’s transmission network service provider, Powerlink, for almost 10 years, where he held senior management and project delivery roles until his departure for Ireland in 2016.

“Aidan’s wealth of experience in both the Australian and international energy industries will be invaluable to Smart Wires as we enter a period of significant growth in Australia,” Ms. Hayden said.

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